How Do You Weigh The Tractors at the Tractor Pull?

By | October 2, 2021

Tractor Pulling Events (and truck pulling) are popular in many parts of the United States. While you don’t often hear about the sport, there are a lot of fans and competitors who enjoy it every year. We don’t claim to be experts in the tractor pull but we can supply the scales and weighing equipment needed to weigh the tractors to make sure they are within the rules. We know what equipment to recommend with decades of experience supplying sets of scales to owners and organizations in the sport of truck and tractor pulling.

Truck and tractor pulling is a motorsport competition, popular in the United States. The goal is to be the tractor that pulls the sled the farthest down the track. The sport is sometimes referred to as the world’s most powerful motorsport, due to the modified tractor pullers and their high powered engines.  If you need more background info on tractor pulls, see here.

These days, it’s fairly common to see “Power Pulling” competitions where you see trucks and tractors attempt to pull a sled down the track. You might hear about “Hot Farm Tractors” which are not just off the farm. They are modified and must weigh in at 11,000 pounds.  Of course, there are also 12,000 LB tractors that compete as well with a turbo. You can see much more about competitions and schedules here.

SLEDS

It’s very interesting to read about the sleds. In the early days, either a dead weight of fixed mass was dragged, or the step-on method was used, which people stood at fixed positions and stepped aboard as the sled passed. Today’s sleds use a complex system of gears to move weights up to 65,000 pounds.

Upon starting, all the weights are over the sled’s rear axles to give an effective weight of the sled plus zero. As the tractor travels the course, the weights are pushed ahead of the sled’s axles, pushing the front of the sled into the ground, synthetically creating a gain in weight until the tractor is no longer able to overcome the force of friction.

The sled can be adjusted in many ways to create a desired pull. Weight can be added or removed from the box. Adding weight on the pan can give more starting weight to the pan of the sled. The box gearing can be changed to move faster or slower, and the starting position of the box can be moved among a two feet area, affecting the distance of travel. The final adjustment is the placement of the trip, which applies the push down system to expend the full weight of the sled on to the pulling vehicle.

SCALES FOR TRUCK & TRACTOR PULLING EVENTS

This is the subject that we emphasize on this website! Each truck or tractor that competes needs to be weighed to make sure they don’t have a distinct advantage. Of course, with the size of the vehicles involved, it can create a challenge. You could purchase a large 9′ x 6′ platform scale along with ramps. However, that would cost well over $5000 (probably more). Another option might be to purchase two platform scales for weighing a tractor and connect them together. However, many leagues and competitors actually just purchase the build your own tractor weighing scale kit and save a lot of money. Of course, if you purchase just the kit, you will need to supply your own weighing platform and it will take hours of elbow grease on your part while you build and install the items in the kit. 

9x6 platform scale for weighing tractors at the tractor pull

SO WHAT SCALE SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?

So, it really depends on how much your time is worth versus purchasing a ready to go scale. (Doesn’t it seem like there’s a lot of decisions in life that come down to that?) There’s also your skill and capability to factor in as well. Basically, we find that most folks that are part of the tractor pull industry, prefer to just build their own scale. Many of them have the tools and just need the right load cells and a little direction and they can build their own scale perfectly fine.  It will take some time and they will need to find (or build) a suitable platform to use as part of the scale.